Suggestions, Nominations Sought in Search for New Divinity School Dean

Randy Maddox, the Divinity School's associate dean for faculty development, will chair the committee leading the international search for the new dean for the school, Provost Sally Kornbluth announced. 

The new dean will succeed Richard Hays, who announced earlier this spring he will step down as dean at the end of the 2015-16 academic year to return to the faculty as professor of New Testament.

Maddox will head a nine-person panel of Duke faculty and one trustee. Three administrators will serve as ex-officio members of the search committee.

In addition to Maddox, who is William Kellon Quick Professor of Wesleyan and Methodist Studies, the other committee members are:

Dan G. Blazer, School of Medicine; Luke Bretherton, Divinity School; Valerie Cooper, Divinity School; Ellen F. Davis, Divinity School; Luke Powery, dean of Duke Chapel; Beth Sheppard, Divinity School; Ashley Crowder Stanley, T’77, D’80, senior pastor, Mills River United Methodist Church and member of the Duke University Board of Trustees; and Norman Wirzba, Divinity School.

Ex officio members are: Edward Balleisen, vice provost for interdisciplinary studies; William Boulding, dean of the Fuqua School; and Benjamin Reese, vice president for institutional equity.

Kornbluth charged the committee with finding a candidate who is:

  • an intellectual leader among the faculty, who can be expected to have the highest aspirations in faculty hiring and retention,
  • an energetic and conscientious administrator broadly familiar with issues in higher education,
  • a strong advocate for the Divinity School and its teaching and research mission in the context of the university's strategic commitment to interdisciplinarity,
  • a strong proponent for a diverse faculty and student body,
  • an effective fund-raiser,
  • a preeminent university citizen,
  • an effective shepherd of the Divinity School’s historic and continuing relationship to the United Methodist Church,
  • and a person committed to the importance of Christian ministry, lay and ordained, with an ability to relate to diverse Christian traditions and other religious faiths.   

The committee, which will be assisted by Baker and Associates, a national executive search firm, is soliciting opinions, nominations and applications from members of the Duke community. Nominations should be submitted by Tuesday, Sept. 15, to receive a full review by the committee.

All inquiries, nominations, and applications will be kept in confidence.  They can be submitted to Jerry H. Baker, Baker and Associates LLC, by email at or by phone at 770-395-2761. Additional information can be found at

The committee has set a goal of presenting its recommendations to President Richard Brodhead and Provost Kornbluth by Jan. 20, 2016.